Tata Communications seeks brand boost via F1

LONDON Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:20pm IST

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil (R) drives ahead of Williams Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello of Brazil (L) and Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil of Germany during the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil (R) drives ahead of Williams Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello of Brazil (L) and Force India Formula One driver Adrian Sutil of Germany during the Turkish F1 Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul May 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas

Related Topics

Stocks

   

LONDON (Reuters) - Tata Communications(TATA.NS), seeking to raise its profile around the globe, unveiled a technology partnership with Formula One motor racing on Thursday, a further sign of the sport's growing appeal in emerging markets.

Tata Communications will use its undersea cable and its IT networks to transmit data and live video from the 20 Grand Prix locations as the circuit tours the globe. It will also host the Formula1.com website in a multi-year deal for which financial terms were not disclosed.

Company CEO Vinod Kumar said the company, part of India's Tata Group conglomerate, saw the partnership as a chance to enhance its image with business customers. The deal differs from the traditional form of sponsorship where companies pay to get their name on cars or drivers' suits and helmets.

"Brand recognition is a challenge for someone like us," Kumar said at a news conference in London, alongside Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone.

"There is no better brand for us to associate ourselves with," said Kumar, adding that the company had looked at golf and tennis before settling on Formula One, which he said would be a demanding environment.

"If we can do it for Formula One, we can do it for anyone else," he said.

However, the deal will come at a price for loss-making Tata Communications. "It's a lot of money," said Kumar when asked about financial details.

Ecclestone, the veteran businessman who has built up Formula One into a series watched by hundreds of millions around the globe, said the agreement was long overdue for a sport that prides itself on innovation.

"We've been a little bit asleep to this type of communications," he said. "It's nothing to do with sponsorship. We were offered a service that we need."

Ecclestone has been adept at spreading Formula One around the globe, taking it into emerging markets and cutting back on the number of races held in mature European markets.

India staged its first race last October and has been retained on the calendar for the coming season.

He said he was "very, very proud" of the progress the sport had made in India, the world's second most populous country, adding that people there had not heard of the sport as recently as four or five years ago.

(Editing by Will Waterman)

FILED UNDER:

Economic Pulse

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

India eases gold import rule in surprise move.  Article 

Indians in Iraq

Indians in Iraq

India says no contact with 39 men held by Islamic State in Iraq.  Full Article 

Sahara Issue

Sahara Issue

Sahara looks to raise $650 million loan to fund bail.  Full Article 

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal Tragedy

Bhopal's toxic legacy lives on, 30 years after industrial disaster.  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

After record deal, more India bank takeovers on cards  Full Article 

Islamic Fund

Islamic Fund

India gets new Islamic equity fund but debt market still off-limits  Full Article 

Cricket Tragedy

Cricket Tragedy

Clarke breaks down giving heartfelt Hughes tribute  Full Article 

Nigeria Violence

Nigeria Violence

Bombs, gunfire kill 81 at crowded mosque in Nigeria's Kano  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

D’Silva's “Ungli” just skims the surface  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage